USC Football Home Opener Brought Back the Magic of the Carroll Days


C&G Shades On is a special weekly column from Sara Kakuris, bringing a die-hard USC fan’s voice and perspective to Reign of Troy. 

It had an air of familiarity, reminiscent of the Pete Carroll days. The perfect mix of sun and a cool breeze. A few notes of “Conquest” being carried on the wind.

The season and home opener.

I hadn’t seen a Coliseum that full for a non-rivalry game in a long time. I ballparked it at 75,000 and I am quite impressed with my only 4,000 and change short guess. I know my Coli.

These were the crowds of yesteryear. When football was fun and exciting, an occasion to be celebrated, not an event steeped in defeat and consequence.

Sanction-free, our boys took the field and we took the stands.

Out of nowhere, I looked up to see sparklers falling from the sky. It turns out those sparklers were attached to some pretty badass Navy SEALS, adorned in flags and Cody Kessler jerseys.

As I teared up watching this awesome display of pride and patriotism, set to the sounds of “Light ‘Em Up”, I couldn’t help but think of the days of the flyovers.

Sep 5, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo reacts before the game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, how I loved the flyovers. Who didn’t? We were recognized and valued enough to have military jets blaze past our heads.

The Navy SEALS pre-show was the first time I’ve felt that we had some of our powerful fanfare back. Maybe we’ve been through enough and can have some fun again.

Also like in the past, the crowd stuck around. I expected an exodus after halftime, with the high score differential and the even higher bedtime differential, but the majority of fans were still there to watch USC jack up the score to levels also reminiscent of Pete Carroll.

For so long, we’ve been force-fed crow, not allowed to be who we really are.

I hate cockiness. I really do. But we deserve to get our groove back, even if that means some may believe we think a little too highly of ourselves.

We have sparkling veterans floating out of the sky. We have a fireworks display when our band plays Katy Perry. We have a pre-game player intro presentation that could have been broadcast on the ESPYs.

We. Are. SC.

The game may not have been the prettiest at times, but the magic was there. It was almost like a reward for those of us who stood proudly by our team through the worst of times.

USC football has never been just about football. It’s about standing up as an elite group, worthy of respect, treated with dignity and fighting on.

And it would be just awesome if a flyover could be in our future.

I welcome hearing your thoughts and any future ideas you’d like to see in a column. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SCTrojanSara and tweet me any time.

See you next week and Fight On!

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